Devon Allen scored his first career touchdown in the NFL after breaking free in the third quarter for a 55-yard score. The Olympic hurdler showed off his elite speed on the play, hauling in a Reid Sinnett pass and giving the Philadelphia Eagles a 21-20 lead.
Predictably, Allen celebrated by hurdling the air. The touchdown would prove to be the final margin of victory as the Eagles improved to 1-1 for the 2022 preseason. Sinnett tossed up a perfect ball. Allen hauled it in. And the offensive line did a tremendous job holding the pocket.
“That was a sweet play, wasn’t it? That was awesome. I was so happy for him,” head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters. “I think it’s hard to do what Devon has done, right? He hasn’t played football in a while and he’s slowly getting into it, right? He’s getting into the groove right there. What a great catch and route by Devon. But that protection was sweet, to hold the pocket because that was a long, developing play and the protection was right on.”
It’s hard to envision Allen making the 53-man roster, but there’s no denying his speed. The former Oregon standout saw made one catch for 55 yards on two targets against Cleveland on Sunday, one week after seeing just eight reps versus New York. If nothing else, Allen put some highlight-reel tape out for the league to watch. And an epic touchdown celebration.
“I said to him in there, ‘Hey, we got to get you a new celebration because you’re a football player now,'” Sirianni said.
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Eagles Beat Browns: 5 Players Who Thrived
The Eagles and Browns both sat their starters after two days of live controlled scrimmages in Berea, Ohio. Sunday’s game was a time for bubble guys to show up and show out. These are the under-the-radar players who took advantage of those reps:
1. CB Josh Jobe: The undrafted rookie out of Alabama (where else?) might have locked up his spot on the 53. He recorded seven total tackles and broke up a pass in the end zone. Yes, Jobe did misjudge one over the middle and gave up some underneath stuff. However, he has a nose for the ball and his “pterodactyl arms” keep making plays.
2. S Andre Chachere: The 195-pounder started at nickel corner and saw snaps at safety. He was all over the field, flying around the ball. Chachere stuffed Browns quarterback Joshua Dobbs at the 1-yard line to save a touchdown. He broke up a pass inside the 10-yard line. And he nearly blocked a field goal. The Eagles have a lot of question marks at safety; Chachere has provided a lot of answers all summer.
3. WR Deon Cain: The practice squad stash led all receivers with five catches for 66 yards, including a pair of back-shoulder fades. He outplayed Jalen Reagor in this one, although his chemistry with backup Gardner Minshew from their scout team work played a part in that. It’s tough to see Cain making the cut, but he’s making a loud case.
4. S Jaquiski Tartt: The former San Francisco 49ers starter finally flashed after a pretty quiet camp. Granted, Tartt missed several days due to personal reasons. He made some big stops in the second half, including a key tackle to bring down Browns back John Kelly on 4th-and-1. Turnover on downs. Tartt was laying the wood.
5. G Jack Anderson: He started at left guard, then moved over to center on the third series after the Eagles decided that Cam Jurgens’ day was done. Jurgens was arguably the best player on the field on Sunday, but Anderson makes this list because of his versatility. And unexpected dominance. He was clearing chunks of highway for Boston Scott (33 yards) and Kenny Gainwell (46 yards). The Eagles need Anderson as a high-caliber veteran backup.
Quarterback Depth Chart Coming into Focus
It was widely assumed the Eagles would give undrafted rookie Carson Strong a long look versus Cleveland. They didn’t. Sirianni stuck with Gardner Minshew for the entire first half, then turned the offense over to Reid Sinnett. There is one more preseason game – August 27 vs. Miami at 7 p.m. – but the quarterback pecking order might be settled.
Minshew – 14-of-17 for 142 yards – got two quarters as the backup.
“All I want to do is get better. In my mind, I’ve proved I can play in this league and that’s all that matters,” Minshew said. “I know if I continue to get better then I have a chance to have a really good career in this league, so just continue to get better and learn from the opportunities like we had today.”
Sinnett – 4-of-9 for 69 yards, touchdown – got the third quarter and most of the fourth.
“It’s hard to go in when you sit out the whole first half and then go in the second half,” Sirianni said of Sinnett. “I’d like for him to go in and start fast but I think once he settled in, he did a nice job again.”
Strong came in with about 3 minutes left and attempted just one pass. Which was ruled an incompletion, although the refs missed an obvious pass interference call.
“It’s frustrating. Everybody is used to being the guy,” Minshew said of Strong. “I’ve been in that situation. So, we were all happy to see him go out there and hope for him to get more reps going forward.”